President Obama is listening to my phone calls, but he's not listening to me on the Keystone XL pipeline. Nor is he listening to 145 former campaign staffers, who want him to live up to past words and reject TransCanada's big tar sands pipeline.
I suppose I should be happier: the President said yesterday that he will only approve Keystone XL if it "does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution." In the process, he even dishes on Congressional climate change deniers, saying, "We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society."
But in making climate change the pivotal issue in his Keystone XL decision, President Obama seems to toss all the other good arguments against Keystone XL in the wastebasket. I've never seen carbon emissions and climate change as the big reason for opposing the pipeline. Keystone XL is all risk and no benefit. It won't reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It will increase our gasoline prices. It won't produce nearly as many jobs as TransCanada has promised. It will send North American oil to China. And it can only be built by allowing a foreign company to seize American citizens' land by judicial force.
Climate change matters, but on Keystone XL, these other arguments should matter more. Making his decision hinge on carbon emissions too conveniently allows him to ignore the bigger problems with this pipeline.